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Research pitches earn international awards for next-generation leaders

Young researchers have earned recognition for quick research pitches while participating in an international leadership program. The online contest was held by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), based in Kenya. ILRI is an implementation partner for the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems, based at the University of Florida.

ILRI’s Capacity Development Grand Challenge (CapDev Grand Challenge) invited 51 participants from 21 countries to its 10-month leadership program. All participants created three-minute videos in which they pitched their research. Congratulations are due to three outstanding researchers, supported by the Livestock Systems Innovation Lab, who earned a silver medal finish in the contest. They are (and our connection to them):

Women in Livestock Science Category:

  • Clarisse Umutoni is a postdoctoral fellow at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Niger. She works on a large research project to improve crop-livestock systems.

“The key to communicate your project effectively is to believe in what you do and in its impact. Believing in what you do gives you the strength to defend your work with passion to anyone, to connect with your audience, and to persuade them with simple, but powerful arguments.”

Biosciences Category:

“The pitching contest helped me appreciate the need for summarizing my research findings and delivering it to broad audiences in a short period of time. This has given me a better understanding of how to deal with challenging questions and situations and the need to always be ready to tackle issues.”

I learned to put end users of one research intervention at the center and think my innovative idea around them. The process was empowering in such ways that during preparation I practiced thinking outside the box to make sure I will be understood, and this enhanced aspects of my skills in research for development. 

The top  finishers in each category were recognized in a virtual ceremony on March 16, 2021.

“Congratulations on this achievement. Your stellar efforts and excellent work continue to be recognized by others,” said Dr. Adegbola Adesogan, the director of the Livestock Systems Innovation Lab.

The CapDev Grand Challenge Continues

After the pitching contest, all participants spent two days working in teams to increase the potential of their future research to impact society. They will now embark in the leadership and interpersonal skills training.

The Livestock Systems Innovation Lab has supported 7 of the 51 early-career scientists or graduate students in the ILRI CapDev Grand Challenge, which concludes in October 2021. The goal of the program is to create a cadre of transformational next-generation livestock researchers who effectively lead, communicate and influence science. Last year’s winner was Daniel Korir, who stated to ILRI:

“Apart from equipping me with new skills I now realize I really needed this experience for my science and technical skills to be effective in creating change. The ILRI CapDev Grand Challenge experience has given me a totally fresh way of looking at research and how we ought to think in a systems perspective if our research findings are to create real change and faster.”

Read another blog about this contest and program at

2 Comments on “Research pitches earn international awards for next-generation leaders

  1. Thank you Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems, based at the University of Florida & ILRI.
    I am one of the feed the future innovation lab project funded young livestock researcher.
    I am glad to be screened for the long term CapDev training.

    • Dear Yitagesu,
      We are excited to have you going through the CapDev Grand Challenge process. Feel free to get in touch. Your invitation for the ‘Integration gender into livestock research training course’ is on the way!!!